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Best Guitars for Garage Rock: 8 Picks

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.*

Looking for the best guitar for garage rock? Well, you’re in the right place! In today’s article, we’re going to highlight the best and most affordable guitars suitable for this raw and energetic genre! If you’re a frequent reader of my blog, you probably remember my latest recommendations on best guitars for indie and best guitars for reggae. I received a few questions about garage rock and garage punk recommendations, so I figured it’d be the best to share it with a wider audience!

Is garage rock dead? No. It will never die. It may not be as popular as 50 years ago, but it’s still here. If you’re interested in creating a garage rock band, you should totally have a look on the best gear recommendations below. Firstly, we’ll start with a short list. In the next part, you’ll be able to see a detailed overview of each model and some of my thoughts. Also, remember to check out the last part of the article as well – there will be a few interesting facts about the garage rock!

Best Guitar For Garage Rock – Top 8

1.Epiphone SG SpecialSee on Amazon
2.Fender Vintera TelecasterSee on Amazon
3.Gretsch G2622TSee on Amazon
4.Fender American Ultra StratocasterSee on Amazon
5.ESP LTD EC-256See on Amazon
6.Fender Kurt Cobain JaguarSee on Amazon
7.Ibanez GRXSee on Amazon
8.Squier Classic Vibe 50’s StratocasterSee on Amazon

1. Epiphone SG Special

Epiphone SG Special - best guitar for garage rock

For those who don’t know, Epiphone is one of the most iconic guitar manufacturers in the world. The SG model was introduced originally by Gibson on 1961 and even today they are in high demand among both beginner and intermediate players. If you’re into some loud and distorted garage rock, this guitar will be on of the best! It features a classic SG style, two open humbuckers with ceramic magnets and a really comfortable slim D neck. Undoubtedly, this guitar will be great even for the most demanding players. Great price, vintage aesthetic and powerful tone – who needs anything else? I guarantee that you won’t be disappointed. In case you want to check out how it sounds, here’s a sound sample!

2. Fender Vintera Telecaster

fender vintera telecaster - best guitar for garage rock

Absolutely amazing Mexican-made guitar by Fender. The Vintera Series features a really solid attention to detail, enjoyable playability and decent pricing. It’s a perfect guitar for more intermediate players. Nevertheless, if you’re just starting, it will also be good for you. Bear in mind that it’s not the cheapest guitar on my list! To be honest, I’m a massive fan of Fender. The Telecaster visible on the photo above features a thick C-shaped maple neck and two vintage single-coil pickups. There’s something really special about this guitar – it feels retro and modern at the same time. When it comes to garage rock, it will be a really good choice!

3. Gretsch G2622T

Gretsch G2622T

A really cool and interesting guitar with a Bigsby bridge. Gretsch is one of the most popular manufacturers of hollow-body guitars. In fact, when garage rock started emerging in 1960’s, a lot of guitarists back then played on hollow and semi-hollow models. The G2622T model features a unique sound, a comfortable neck and affordable pricing. Also, there’s a Bigsby! Personally, it’s one of my today’s favorites. Undoubtedly, this model will be a great fit for anyone who loves garage rock and garage punk. And at the same time, you will be able to play some cleaner sounds too, because it’s really versatile. I highly recommend checking it out further!

4. Fender American Ultra Stratocaster

fender American professional Stratocaster - best guitar for garage rock

Something for guitarists who are not looking for the cheapest guitars on the market. In fact, this Fender tends to be really expensive. If you’re not on a low budget, you should definitely give it a try. The American Ultra Series is aimed for advanced musicians who very often make a living with playing music. This model will be perfect for studio recordings and live gigs. It’s a high level guitar that offers amazing playability, exceptional attention to detail and sick tone. What’s more, the mix between the black body and golden hardware and bright maple fingerboard makes this guitar look really expensive and eye-catching. Undoubtedly, it will be a perfect fit for the most demanding players. Here’s a sound sample in case you’re interested. It’s super versatile!

5. ESP LTD EC-256


Another really cool guitar made for heavy and distorted sounds. I’m sure that you’ll be able to get a lot of fat and dirty riffs on that pretty thing! Again, the combination of black and gold looks stunning. The guitar features a mahogany body and neck with a roasted jatoba fingerboard. What’s important, the EC-256 is equipped with two LH-150 passive pickups. What does that mean? Well, it means an incredible distorted tone. What I also like about this guitar is that it’s really versatile. It’s not the cheapest model, but it’s definitely worth the money. At this price, it will be tough to find something better. Check out the sound sample below. Sounds great, right?

6. Fender Kurt Cobain Jaguar

Fender Kurt Cobain Jaguar - best guitar for garage rock

Any Nirvana fans out there? This is a really special guitar offered by Fender. In fact, Kurt Cobain was one of the most popular guitarists who used a Jaguar as his first-choice guitar. In my opinion, this guitar is really special and it will be particularly great for garage and indie rock. The guitar features two amazing pickups:

  • DiMarzio hum bucking DP103 PAF 36th Anniversary (neck)
  • DP100 Super Distortion (bridge)

As you can imagine, both of these pickups offer an exceptional tone. I highly recommend it for players who like to play really distorted riffs. Nevertheless, it’s not that cheap. Although it’s totally worth that price, especially if you’re a fan of Kurt Cobain. Check out the sound sample below and see how it sounds.

7. Ibanez GRX

Ibanez grx

This is definitely the most affordable guitar on my list. If you’re on a low budget or if you’re just starting your musical journey, this Ibanez will be a perfect fit! What’s interesting, with low price comes a really good quality and great tone. The HSH pickup setting will be particularly great for garage rock and punk. I think that at this price level it will be difficult to find anything better. In addition, it looks really cool too! Check out the sound sample below. What do you think about it? Let me know in the comments below!

8. Squier Classic Vibe 50’s Stratocaster

Squier classic vibe Stratocaster - best guitar for garage rock

If you’re not familiar with Squier, it’s a really popular brand that belongs to Fender. They offer a really good quality guitars which are often considered as cheaper Fender versions. In my opinion, the Classic Vibe Series is on the same level as Fender Player Series. I own a Classic Vibe Telecaster and I have to admit that the overall quality and playability is great! I think that it’ll be a perfect guitar for both beginner and more advanced guitarists. I included a Stratocaster on my list, because it is versatile – you’ll be able to play both garage rock and clean jazz at the same time. Nevertheless, I highly recommend checking out other Squier Classic Vibe models – such as Jazzmaster, Telecaster or Jaguar. Great guitars in affordable prices!

Garage Rock – FAQ

What is garage rock?

Garage rock is an energetic, raw and simple form of rock music. The genre combines elements of rock n’ roll, bluegrass and surf music. It often features simple lyrics and heavily distorted guitar sound. The critics estimate that this genre came to life in early 1960s.

What are the most famous garage rock bands?

Some older garage rock bands include The Amboy Dukes, Blue Cheer, Bubble Puppy or The Blues Project. There are also a lot of today’s bands who are heavily influenced by garage rock from the past. For example : The Strokes, The White Stripes, The Hives, The Horrors or The Stooges. Nevertheless, all of the bands above can also be classified into various other rock genres, such as indie or alternative rock.

Where can I buy a garage rock guitar?

To be honest, it’s not difficult to find a good garage rock guitar. You can visit your local music store or you can find it in online guitar stores. I highly recommend checking out guitars on Amazon. If any of the guitars above seem interesting to you, you can click the blue button under the picture to check out more detail on Amazon.

What does garage rock sound like?

Garage rock most often has a really simple structure and lyrics. Most often, garage rock bands use only a minimalistic set of chords. I highly recommend checking out the playlist below to explore this genre further.

How can I find the best guitar for garage rock?

I encourage you to check out all the models recommended by me in this article! Undoubtedly, all of them will be a great fit for garage rock and similar genres, such as garage punk, surf rock or indie rock.


As you can see, there are a lot of great guitars suitable for garage rock and garage punk. If you’re an absolute beginner, you should probably try the Epiphone SG or Ibanez GRX. But if you already have some experience with guitars, I think that Squier Classic Vibe, Fender Vintera or Fender American Professional will be a perfect fit. At the same time, if you’re a lover of Bigsby bridges, you can check out that Gretsch. I guarantee that all of these guitars sound and feel amazing – you won’t be disappointed!

Thanks for checking out Best Guitars Now. I hope that today’s article was helpful and now you will find the best guitar for garage rock. Which guitar would you choose? Let me know in the comment section below. In addition, if you enjoyed today’s blog post, you may also like:

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